Erin Flannery to represent College of IST as student marshal

April 20, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For College of Information Sciences and Technology student marshal Erin Flannery, Penn State gave her the opportunity to explore a number of diverse degree pathways and research activities. After exploring many topics of interest during her first year, she found that the programs within the College of IST would uniquely allow her to explore those interests through a multidisciplinary lens.

She ultimately landed on dual majors in security and risk analysis and Chinese Language and Culture.

“In combination with my Chinese major, security and risk analysis enabled me to explore many different areas of study to build a holistic understanding of technology and security within a global context,” said Flannery.

At Penn State, Flannery served as a research assistant for the College of IST, assisting in the design and deployment of a remote adaptation of ongoing investigations into cloud user deletion models and methods; and for the Center for Language Science in the College of the Liberal Arts, investigating the role of implicit learning in language comprehension and generalization.

A Schreyer Honor Scholar, Flannery designed, deployed and analyzed an independent research project for her undergraduate thesis to investigate the role of speaker identity in the interpretation of Chinese null pronouns.

In addition to her research efforts, Flannery was involved as a teaching assistant in the College of IST and an active member of the college’s Women in IST (WIST) student organization. She served as director of content for TEDxPSU, a conversation partner volunteer with Global Connections, and a cultural ambassador in her experience with Nanjing University Exchange — through which she traveled with a delegation of students for a two-week linguistic and cultural exchange.

“Exploring many different academic fields through my degree path within the College of IST helped me create a nuanced view of technology and security,” she said. “Integrating many different academic views taught me to strengthen my approach to problem solving by using an interdisciplinary perspective.”

Flannery will earn her degrees on May 9, graduating with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. During her years at Penn State, she earned a number of awards and accolades, including the President’s Freshman Award, President Sparks Award, Judith Kroll Undergraduate Research Award, Liberal Arts Undergraduate Enrichment Award, Schreyer Honors College Thesis Grant, Paterno Fellowship, and two Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships.

At commencement, Flannery will be escorted by faculty marshal Dongwon Lee, associate professor of information sciences and technology, whom she said was a particularly impactful mentor that supported her professional development.

“I encourage future students to leverage all the resources our college and the University as a whole have to offer,” said Flannery. “While it may seem overwhelming at first, peer and faculty mentors are invaluable in navigating the Penn State experience.”

While she prepares to graduate after an especially unique and challenging end to her college career during the novel coronavirus pandemic, she is amazed by the resiliency of her peers during the period of remote learning, and the progress they’ve continued to make professionally and personally.

“I’m excited and encouraged by all the accomplishments of my fellow graduates, and I can’t wait to see how their mastery of academics and leadership at Penn State translates to the next phases of their professional and personal lives,” she concluded.


Last Updated April 20, 2021